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2013 to be bumper year for space science: European Space Agency

Published on Jan 24, 2013 9:11 PM

PARIS (AFP) - European probes this year will return a treasure trove of data from explorations into the Big Bang, water on Mars and climate change, European Space Agency (ESA) chief Jean-Jacques Dordain said.

"2013 will yield an extraordinary harvest" of knowledge about space, Mr Dordain predicted at a start-of-year press conference.

On Feb 22, scientists will report back on the Soil Moisture and Salinity (SMOS) mission, in which a satellite launched in 2009 is mapping Earth's land surface and oceans for changes linked to global warming.

On March 21, astrophysicists will release the first all-sky map of Cosmic Microwave Background - the backwash of ancient radiation from the creation of the universe 14 billion years ago. The map has been generated by the probe Planck, launched in May 2009.

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